Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/391

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stable a short time before, preferring to hire their teams from a livery-man. We became friends directly. That very evening they gave me welcome by opening a bottle of champagne.

"My!" I exclaimed, clapping my hands; "they do things well here."

The valet de chambre smiled, and shook a bunch of keys musically in the air. He had the keys to the cellar; he had all the keys. He was the trusted servant of the house.

"Say, will you lend them to me?" I asked, by way of a joke.

Giving me a tender look, he answered:

"Yes, if you are nice with Baby. You will have to be nice with Baby."

Oh! he was a chic man, and he knew how to talk to women. He had an English name,—William. What a pretty name!

During the meal, which lasted for some time, the old butler did not say a word, but ate and drank a great deal. They paid no attention to him, and he seemed a little dopy. As for William, he was charming, gallant, and assiduous; he paid me delicate attentions under the table; and, when we were drinking our coffee, he offered me Russian cigarettes, of which his pockets were full. Then, drawing me to him,—the tobacco had made me a little dizzy, and I was a little drunk too, and my hair was disarranged,—he seated me upon his knees,